29 April 2012

A tale of two (Ren) scrubs

For several months now I've been using Ren's 'body scrubs' once or twice weekly (though they aren't technically called body scrubs they are essentially both designed to exfoliate). I first tried (and then repurchased) the Guerande Salt Exfoliating Body Balm, and for the past couple of months I've been using the  Moroccan Rose Otto Sugar Body Polish, so I thought I'd share my thoughts on both.

Ren Guerande Salt Exfoliating Body Balm - £20, 330mml
I love this scrub - it's one of the best I've tried. It smells fresh, it has a lovely consistency - like a thick textured paste - and most importantly, it's super effective! My skin feels amazingly soft after this and the feeling seems to last for a few days. It's not cheap but as the effects are so lasting it does go a fairly long way. 

Ren Moroccan Rose Otto Sugar Body Polish - £33, 330ml
I'm actually less keen on this one. The consistency is divine - very thick again but bound together with a luscious thick rose-scented oil. It feels amazing when you apply it, and I like the smell too, but for me that's where the love ends. It doesn't seem to exfoliate my skin as well as the salt scrub (the immediate and long-term effects are both much less marked) and - pet hate and a characteristic of other sugar scrubs I've tried - it leaves an oily film on my skin that actually feels a bit uncomfortable and not at all moisturising. In fact, I sometimes think my skin feels a bit drier after I've used this. People who like sugar scrubs (and roses) might like this a lot more and indeed it does get quite a lot of love but I'm just not sure how effective it is for my skin. Also, it's significantly more expensive than the salt balm. 

As these are quite expensive I tend to wait for special offers before purchasing and I will definitely repurchase the salt scrub - it's better than my go-to L'Oreal Exfotonic (and I like the fact that it's contains more natural ingredients). It's definitely up there with my other favourite Clarins Smoothing Body Scrub. I also love the packaging of both.

You can purchase Ren from beautyexpert.co.uk or from renskincare.co.uk.

28 April 2012

Becca Pasa Doble nail polish

I love this nail polish from Becca's Balearic Love collection. It's so unusual to see such a dark shade feature in a summer collection - and yet it is surprisingly summer-appropriate (just look at the promo pics - though obviously being a bronzed goddess and having the beautiful face of an equally bronzed god to show it off against helps!). It's a gorgeous shade. Really, it's almost black, but if you look very closely or sheer the polish out a bit (see third pic with one coat) it's deep plum.

This is the first Becca polish I've tried. They're very reasonably priced at £12 (this was even more of a bargain with a 25% VIP discount). The formula was good - fairly thick but easy to apply. The lasting power wasn't great, though I did do the manicure in a bit of a hurry and was using quite old Nails Inc base and top coats so I don't want to blame that entirely on the polish.

I'm looking forward to wearing this when our own weather turns a bit more Balearic!

12 April 2012

More Becca goodies...

I couldn't resist when Becca had another discount offer a few weeks ago - it is probably up there in my top three make up brands (along with Nars and one other that is more interchangeable!), so I took the opportunity to add a few more products to my collection. Here's what I bought... I hope to add some more detailed reviews of the individual products soon.

Luminous Skin Colour - Nude
I had wanted to try this legendary tinted moisturiser for a while. Having no idea what colour to go for I plumped for Nude which seemed like the safest option. It's... interesting. I'll review it in detail when I've used it a few more times - still getting to grips with it at the moment. What I would say is that it is incredibly sheer so not great coverage but it does give good glow. I'm just not sure yet whether it's too glowy for my combination (read 'shiny'!) skin and also whether this shade is quite right for me.

Eye Tint - Pewter
I read a few good reviews of this online and having two other Eye Tints (Vicuna and Baroque) which I love, I thought I'd give this darker, more dramatic looking shade a go. I have to admit that the first time I applied it I made a complete hash of it - it definitely requires a more careful application than the lighter shades. So I need to practice with this a bit more before I make up my mind on it.It is lovely swatched though.

Sheer Tint Lip Colour - Leticia
I am an absolute sucker for corals and peach so this 2010 addition to Becca's (fairly limited) lipstick range was a no brainer. I have to say it does not disappoint - I am in love with this lipstick. More pics soon!

Beach Tint - Guava
Another coral colour calling my name. At first swatch this seems slightly more liquidy than the other Beach Tints I own (Grapefruit and Fig) but the colour is everything I hoped it would be. It's a very soft shade and I think it could work well on fairer skins. It's the perfect compliment to Leticia lipstick.

Nail Colour - Pasa Doble
This blackish-plum polish was a bit of an impulse buy - I'd never tried a Becca nail colour before and I like the idea of darker shades in summer - plus I love anything Spanish. A quick swatch with two coats is below. Very dramatic!

Butter Lip Balm Spf 25
Another impulse buy - I was intrigued to see what a lip balm with a high spf would be like as usually when I go on holiday I buy one of the specialist lip products that protect your lips by leaving a thick white coat on them! This is lovely - it makes the lips look soft and plumped and somehow manages to have the spf without being white and opaque. A couple of reservations; I like vanilla but I find the vanilla scent of this a bit strong. And the consistency is such (it is indeed quite buttery) that I can image it melting quite easily in warmer weather... time will tell.

And lastly, a couple of brushes.

Small Polishing Make up Brush #56
I saw this being used on one of the Zuneta videos to buff cream blusher under the cheekbones, and was interested to try this method of application, as normally I apply cream blusher on the apples or on the cheekbones and (lightly) around the temples. I was surprised that the bristles were a lot less stiff than I thought they'd be so actually I found application of cream blush with this quite difficult. Again, I just need to practice a bit with this and would be interested to hear from anyone else who has this and how they use it. Although its recommended for buffing cream blush to the apples of the cheeks, at the minute I am preferring to pat on my cream blush with the Becca Cream Blush / Bronzer Brush (truly a great brush!).

Eye Colour Blender Brush #35
This was a gift with purchase. I haven't tried it yet and will be interested to see how it compares with my only other eyeshadow blending brush the MAC 217.

So there we have it. Some lovely products to try out over the next few weeks and having done a quick face of the day with the Guava Beach Tint and Leticia Sheer Tint Lip Colour this morning I am loving them already. Will report on my other purchases in due course! Next on my Becca hit list is the Opal Shimmering Skin Perfector - I have and love the Pearl shade but think I need something warmer for the summer months.

10 April 2012

YSL Vernis a Levres 06 - Camel Croisiere

Here it is, my first foray into the legendary 'glossy stains' by YSL (official title Rouge Pur Couture Vernis a Levres). I ended up, by mistake, with the shade 06 Camel Croisiere which is to my eye a kind of tomato orange / red as opposed to anything like camel, if indeed the name is referring to camel as a shade. Croisiere apparently means cruise, so camel cruise? Who knows - maybe they're trying to conjure up some sort of desert adventure. In which case I can see where they were going, kind of..

I digress. Either way its a very nice, wearable colour and despite my initial reservations (the shade I actually requested was 07 Corail Aquatique but the make up lady gave me this one by mistake - must remember to check next time) this is really kind of growing on me. I also love the faintly seventies vibe both of this particular shade and of the finish.

And a slightly startled looking shot to demonstrate the lasting power post dinner and wine!

Everything I've read about these is true - they are super long lasting (see last photo), pigmented and fairly true to the colour in the tubes (though they do darken and deepen in intensity with more than one coat - in the above pictures I'm wearing two). They fade to leave a nice stain on the lips and the consistency is great - not too sticky, not too glossy - a happy medium somewhere in between. They do a fantastic job of plumping the lips. And they smell lovely too.

This product is making me love a glossy lip again and I cannot wait to try more colours.

9 April 2012

Nars satin lipstick - Niagara

I am so in love with Nars  lipsticks at the moment. Barbarella and Dolce Vita (both sheer lipsticks) are possibly two of my favourite lipsticks of all time (must review them soon) but a few weeks ago I purchased my first of Nars' 'satin' lipsticks, Niagara, a beautiful coral pink.

I have to confess that when writing this review I thought Niagara was one of Nars' sheer lipsticks - I actually find the formula quite similar though there probably is more depth of colour with the satin formula. I do find the satin formula to be very light and easy to apply, like the sheers, and also easy to apply, and while neither are hugely longlasting this isn't an issue for me.

Overall, I love this shade and can't wait to start experimenting with a few different looks - I'm thinking it will look great with bronzed skin in summer and also like it with a soft pink cheek as pictured here.